Tag: Broadbean Technology

Demand for IT professionals up 76% year-on-year in July 2021

Data preceding the pandemic highlights the true extent of skills shortages in the UK with applications to jobs down 47% between July 2019 and July 2020. According to real-time data from the global network of job boards, Broadbean Technology, the decline in applications, largely attributed to the pandemic, suggests that the UK was already experiencing talent shortfalls before lockdown.

Sectors worst hit

In the engineering, accounting and financial services industries, the demand for talent increased by over 100% in the year to July 2021. However, when compared to two years ago, Broadbean’s data suggests that talent shortages are worsening.

Broadbean’s data shows that engineering vacancy numbers doubled (up 103%) between July 2020 and July 2021. However, when compared to the latest data with July 2019, vacancies were down by 20%, with the number of applications decreasing by 54%.

The financial services sector also saw vacancies double (104%) between July 2020 and July 2021. But for July 2019 to July 2020, vacancies dropped 12%, and application numbers declined 57%.

In the accounting industry, vacancies were up by 104% between July 2020 and July 2021, but were down 31% when compared to 2019 figures, while application numbers from 2019 – 2021 also fell 56%.

Demand for IT professionals still rising

The fast shift to online working environments in the last year resulted in an annual increase of 76% in vacancies in the IT industry. The digital transformation of workforces continues to drive demand for this talent in this sector.

As Alex Fourlis, Managing Director at Broadbean Technology explained: “While there are ongoing reports of a post-Covid talent shortage, as the so called ‘Great Resignation’ impacts headcount and increases competition for talent, our data shows that the skills shortage was already well underway before the virus struck. Covid may have pushed the severe skills shortages the UK is facing into the public consciousness, but trouble was already bubbling under the surface in the early months of last year.

“This can, in part, be linked to the impact of Brexit on talent pools and the need for an appropriate visa route for independent professionals to encourage people from outside the UK to work in the country.”

Pre-Covid skills shortage

Olly Newton, Executive Director, The Edge Foundation said: “Figures from the Government’s own Employer Skills Survey showed 226,000 vacancies created by skills shortages in 2017, up from just 91,000 in 2011. These are jobs that remained unfilled because the right skills couldn’t be found – an economic and social tragedy.

“It has cost employers dearly – £4.4 billion has been paid out in the past year on recruitment fees, higher salaries and temporary staff. It has also cost young people dearly – young people who should have been given the skills they needed to get into and thrive in those jobs.

“Research from before COVID showed that these shortages were widening not shrinking. Research by the Open University publicised by the Edge Foundation shows that nine out of ten organisations (88%) report a shortage of employees with digital skills. Meanwhile, looking to the future, work by the Government’s own Industrial Strategy Council suggested that by 2030, 7 million workers could be under-skilled for the requirements of their changing jobs.”

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The gap between supply and demand in the labour market is widening and the situation is unlikely to improve without government intervention, recruiters have warned.

Alongside publication of its latest monthly Labour Market Update, produced with the CBI, recruitment specialist Pertemps said that skills shortages were spreading across more and more sectors and now threatened to derail the UK’s economy recovery.

As well as the much-reported shortage of drivers, hospitality and IT staff, Pertemps said there was now a “drastic shortfall” in candidates for roles such as butchers, bricklayers and welders.

“While the job market is improving, we are experiencing shortages in sectors, such as hospitality, driving, IT and administration, which requires us and recruitment companies like us, to be creative and innovative to attract and secure candidates from wider talent pools to avoid slowing our economic recovery,” said Pertemps chair Carmen Watson.

“To ease acute shortfalls in certain trades, the government should also immediately update its shortage occupation lists to include jobs ranging from butchers and bricklayers to welders. In the longer term, firms must continue to strengthen inclusion while investing in skills and automation. The government can help by ensuring that the qualifications it funds include those in short supply.

‘Holistic’ approach needed

“What we need is a holistic approach to these challenges with recruiters working closer than ever with clients and talent pools, with government liaising with us and taking advice on where they can help. This is about keeping our economy moving forward and not about business versus business or the pursuit of profit at all costs.”

Pertemps’ view was backed up by data from job board network Broadbean Technology, which revealed that the number of people applying for jobs had fallen for three consecutive months.

According to Broadbean’s data, the number of applicants per vacancy in the UK was down 24% between May and June, following a 9% decline between April and May and a 15% drop from March to April.

The issue was most pronounced in hospitality and catering – the industry suffered the biggest fall in application numbers, with a 78% decline in the number of applications per vacancy in the first six months of this year.

Logistics and supply chain and retail also fared badly, with the number of applicants down 77% and 75%, respectively, during the same period.

Applications at odds with vacancies

The fall in applications was in stark contrast to vacancy numbers, which have continued to move in the opposite direction. Broadbean data reported that jobs were up 10% between May and June, while the most recent Office for National Statistics figures showed that job listings had risen above pre-pandemic levels.

Alex Fourlis, Managing Director at Broadbean Technology, said: “The UK job market is becoming increasingly competitive as a shortage of talent continues to be exacerbated by the spikes in hiring that most businesses are reporting. We’re currently witnessing multiple clients experiencing record low levels of job applications, leaving frustrated recruiters unable to fill critical positions.

“In fact, the applications per job that we recorded in May and June hit record lows, unseen in the last five years. It’s unlikely that we’ll see any improvement on this situation as we enter the mid-summer months, with many jobseekers now postponing their job search until September.”

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UK employers are struggling with the worst labour shortages for almost a quarter of a century as the reopening of the economy continues.

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) warned that the availability of workers was deteriorating at a record pace, fuelled by factors such as increased hiring, Brexit, pandemic-related uncertainty and the furlough scheme.

The latest REC/KPMG UK Report on Jobs survey revealed that in June permanent staff appointments expanded at the fastest rate since the survey began in October 1997, while temp billings grew at their highest level for nearly 23 years.

But during the same time period, the availability of workers fell at an unprecedented rate, leading to a sharp increase in starting rates of pay.

The demand for staff continued to move beyond crisis-hit sectors such as hospitality, with jobs in IT and computing rising the fastest in June, followed by hotel and catering jobs and engineering.

Claire Warnes, Partner and Head of Education, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK, said the latest figures showed action was needed to address the country’s skills gap: “For the fourth month running we’re seeing a decline in the availability of candidates to fill all these new roles and the most severe deterioration for 24 years. We need action from businesses and government to reskill and upskill furloughed and prospective workers now more than ever, as the increasing skills gap in the workforce has the potential to slow the UK’s economic recovery.”

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, added: “Recruiters are working flat out to fill roles across our economy. The jobs market is improving at the fastest pace we have ever seen, but it is still an unpredictable time. We can’t yet tell how much the ending of furlough and greater candidate confidence will help to meet this rising demand for staff. In some key shortage sectors like hospitality, food, driving and IT, more support is likely to be needed to avoid slowing the recovery.

“That means supporting transitions into growing sectors through unemployment support and new skills programmes, as well as making sure the new immigration system reacts to demand, as promised. But it also means that hiring companies need to re-assess their workforce plans. In a tight jobs market, working with professional recruiters to position your firm as an employer of choice is a must.”

Further pain ahead

The situation is likely to get even worse when the travel industry gets back on its feet if the results of a separate survey are to be believed.

Ahead of Grant Schapps’ announcement of the scrapping of home quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers, job board CV-Library ran a survey of travel and tourism workers and found that almost 60% were not planning to return to the industry.

Of those responding to the survey, 68.4% believed the industry would face a shortage of workers, with  58.1% saying they weren’t considering returning even once the industry is fully operational again.

When asked why they were turning their back on the industry, the main reason was that it had shut down and jobs were no longer available. However, almost a third of respondents (30%) said they felt the industry was too unpredictable and almost half (47.2%) felt that the salaries and benefits on offer were now worse than in pre-pandemic times.

Lee Biggins, CEO and founder of CV-library, said: “These results should be alarming for employers, but, sadly, they aren’t surprising. We’ve all witnessed the impact of this pandemic on the hospitality sector and the travel and tourism industry has been the hardest hit sector of all. As such, a shortage of candidates when the restrictions are lifted feels somewhat inevitable.

“It’s crucial that businesses take notice of these results and listen to job seekers. There are plenty of staff out there but, in order to recruit, businesses can’t just pick up where they left off. Competitive pay and benefits must be offered, and with the industry unlikely to be provided with much notice to get back up and running, those with the strongest employer proposition will win the race for talent.”

Graduate solution?

One potential avenue employers grappling with shortages may wish to explore is adapting some of their positions to appeal to the graduate market.

Though vacancy numbers as a whole may be rising, in the graduate market the reverse is true: data from job board network Broadbean showed that graduate and training vacancies were down 66% on pre-pandemic levels in the first half of this year, as well as being down 34% on the first half of last year, when the country was in the thick of the pandemic.

This has led to a situation where the number of applicants per graduate vacancy now stands at 51, up 46% on 2019 numbers.

Alex Fourlis, Managing Director at Broadbean Technology, said: “It is concerning to see that graduate and early careers recruitment is faring considerably worse than other areas of the employment market.

“The fact that vacancy levels today are considerably lower than during the pandemic suggests that while employers are investing in experienced talent at a time when many sectors are contending with skills shortages, there is a real threat that this dearth of talent will be exacerbated in the coming months and years if graduate and early careers recruitment isn’t prioritised by companies.”

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